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Phillies vs. Rangers, 7:10 ET
Ah, Sunday Night Baseball, the first one of many this season. We are seeing the World Series loser against a team that didn’t even sniff the World Series. I kind of wish they would just delay the first Sunday Night Baseball or do something different for this. During the first week it is almost a guarantee you will see two teams that feature their third best pitcher. Still, I’ve found an angle on this one that should keep it interesting even if the pitchers aren’t going to be big names.
The Phillies have one of the toughest lineups in all of baseball. Even without Bryce Harper, they are absolutely stacked. That won’t be their issue though. The first game of the season wasn’t exactly a beautiful start. And, the second one was pretty rough as well for Zack Wheeler. Perhaps the deep playoff run hurt them a bit more on the mound than anything. Now they have Bailey Falter going for them. Falter didn’t have a bad season last year, and we actually are getting him in a spot that is better than him as a home starter. Last year, he was able to post a 2.42 road ERA compared to a 5.49 home ERA. Of course, things change year to year, in 2021 he had a significantly higher road ERA than he did at home. Falter should be solid through the first three innings in this one, but Texas should be able to get to him the second time through the lineup. I doubt they will see him get through three times.
The Rangers invested money into the pitching staff during the offseason and are hoping that it leads them back to the playoffs since… 2016. I personally won’t believe it until I see it, but the first two games looked good for them. The hitters look locked in and the pitching has done just enough to survive. Playing in their stadium, that might be the only way to go this season. Now they have Martin Perez pitching for them and he had a very strong campaign last year. In his 2022 season, he went nearly 200 innings and allowed just 63 earned runs, good enough for a 2.89 ERA. He also faced Philadelphia twice last season and was able to blank them in both games. He went 13 innings over the course of the two games and allowed 10 hits and seven walks, so there was risk, but he was able to escape the jams consistently.
I’m going to back the home team in this one and take the Rangers. No team wants to start the season 0-3, so this might be a motivation for the Phillies, but they do not have the pitching edge in this one. I like the Rangers to win this game and see them going away with it. I probably will also sprinkle the +165 run line for this game.
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